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Research and Writing Guidelines

for Graduate Students


Dr. VIRGINIA D. AKIATE, CESO III
Director IV,CHED-MIMAROPA
10 Keys to Successful Research
1. Work on a topic you are keen on and really care about.
2. Work closely and well with your Thesis Adviser.
3. Start early.
4. Set specific, time-bound goals.
5. Question your questions.
6. Document, document, document.
7. Step back often.
8. Keep your focus.
9. Pace yourself.
10. Believe you can complete your thesis.
What a Master’s Thesis Is
• Writing a master’s thesis is both an academic research project and an intellectual
journey or adventure.

• As an academic research project, it requires thoughtful, careful, and deliberate


conceptualization, planning, organization, and execution—all which call for
disciplined, systematic work.

• At the same time, it is a journey or adventure, in the sense that at the beginning
you may not know or not be able to state what exactly you are looking for—or,
even if you may have a rough idea of what you want to look into, you cannot
really tell in advance the likely outcome of the undertaking. This means you
should be ready to take risks and to deal with the uncertainty and ambiguity that
go hand in hand with serious research, especially the kind that involves human
subjects or topics on which little local research has been done.
Glatthorn and Joyner (2005) pointed out some of these
attributes:
1. They are long—“longer than a term paper, shorter than a book” (p. 6). Their average length is around 200 pages
(the usual range is between 125 and 225 pages).

2. They “look scholarly—they are replete with citations of previous research.” They “build upon previous
knowledge…. You can’t simply make assertions; you have to document them” (pp. 6-7) (i.e., cite previous studies to
support your statements).

3. They “sound scholarly.” They do not sound like informal essays or editorials. They are written “in a style that is
formal, not colloquial and is objective, not subjective” (p. 7).

4. They are “organized in a special way,” usually following “this time-honored pattern: introduction, review of the
literature, methodology, results, and summary and discussion.” There can be variations from this standard pattern,
but the order is predictable: “tell what problem you studied; explain how you studied it; report the results;
summarize and discuss the findings” (p. 7).

5. They “tend to follow very specific rules about matters of style” (p. 7), faithfully following the preferred style guide.
Chandrasekhar (2002) mentioned a few other
key characteristics of theses:
1. “A thesis is a written record of the work that has been undertaken by a candidate. It constitutes
objective evidence of the author’s knowledge and capabilities in the field of interest and is therefore a
fair means to gauge them”.
2. Undergraduate and postgraduate theses differ in degree, rather than kind. “They share a common
structure and need for logical rigor. It is only in the substance and the emphasis placed on it that the
differences arise” (p. 4).
3. Undergraduate and postgraduate theses are “judged on a similar basis”: “the quality of research,
the significance of the contributions and the style of presentation,” with emphasis on three qualities:
“originality, independence, and mastery” (p. 4).
4. “Candidates writing a higher degree thesis … are required to present their research in the context
of existing knowledge. This means a thorough and critical review of the literature, not necessarily
limited to the narrow topic of research, but covering the general area” (p. 4, italics in the original).
5. “A thesis—whether undergraduate or postgraduate—is evidence of the candidate’s capacity to
carry out independent research under the guidance of a supervisor, and to analyze and communicate
the significant results of that work. The candidate for higher degrees must demonstrate, in addition,
mastery of the literature and indicate clearly which is his or her original work, and why it is significant”
(p. 4).
6. “Most of all, a thesis is an attempt to communicate.” The thesis writer shares his or her findings
with a “larger community … and perhaps even the public.” In that sense, “the thesis is … not merely a
record of technical work, but is also an attempt to communicate it to a larger audience” (p. 4).
What It Takes to be a Researcher
KNOWLEDGE SKILLS OTHER ATTRIBUTES
Principles of and theories in Thinking (divergent, convergent, creative, critical, Imaginativeness, creativity, and
the field of specialization systems) resourcefulness
Characteristics, methods,
and instruments of
Planning and implementation of an educational
educational (qualitative, Resiliency
research project
quantitative, and mixed)
research
Use of information and
Use of “connections” and
communication technology Multitasking and time management
networking
in research
Specific knowledge related to
thesis topic or research Negotiation and interpersonal relations Intellectual stamina
problem
Written and verbal communication
Problem solving
Searching for related literature; data collection
(conducting interviews, observations, FGDs,
surveys, archival research)
Data analysis and synthesis
Documentation and management of collected data
and information and records
Other General Guidelines
1. Academic Writing
As Glatthorn and Joyner (2005) pointed out, a thesis should “look scholarly”
(p. 6) and “sound scholarly” (p. 7). In other words, it should measure up to
the standards of academic writing. This means, among other things:

a. Avoiding making unsupported assertions. Careful documentation and


citation of previous research to support statements and arguments is a must.

b. Adopting a formal and objective writing style. As Glatthorn and Joyner put
it, “You write to report the results of your research. You do not write to
persuade, or to entertain, or to express personal feelings—but to inform.
That informing function indicates that the primary quality of writing is clarity,
not creativity” (p. 5).
Other General Guidelines
1. Academic Writing
Chandrasekhar (2002) identified three components that can be used for analyzing a
thesis: structure, substance, and style. In his view, “structure confers logical
coherence; substance, significance and depth; and style, elegance and appeal” (p.
2).
According to Chandrasekhar:
a. “The structure of a thesis is governed by logic.” It also has to follow the
prescribed format in terms of its organization, subdivision, and sequence of
presentation.
b. “The substance varies with subject, and its quality is determined by the technical
knowledge and mastery of essentials exhibited by the student.”

c. “Style has two components: language and layout. The former deals with the
usage of English as a medium of sound technical communication; the latter with
the physical presentation of the thesis on paper” (p. 3).
Other General Guidelines (Cont’d)
2. Ethical Norms
As a researcher, you should keep in mind and respect the key ethical
norms and values at play in educational research, summarized in the
table below.
The Researcher Other Researchers Research Subjects
Academic integrity Intellectual property Human dignity
rights
Intellectual honesty Right to privacy, good
Justice name, and reputation
Self-respect
Justice and charity
Other General Guidelines (Cont’d)
2. Ethical Norms
Macfarlane (2009) listed a set of general ethical principles that should inform
university-level research. These are:
• Minimal risk of harm to participants and researchers
• Potential for benefit by society
• Maintenance of the dignity of participants
• Minimal risk of harm to the environment
• Voluntary informed consent by participants, or special safeguards where this is
not possible
• Transparency in declaring funding sources
• Confidentiality of information supplied by research participants and anonymity of
respondents
• Acknowledgment of assistance
• Appropriate publication and dissemination of research results
• Independence and impartiality of researchers. (p. 28, italics in the original)
THE RESEARCH PROCESS
Your Research Itinerary at a Glance
Your thesis writing itinerary can be summarized in these 10 steps:
1. Choose a topic.
2. Do initial research (review of related literature, consultation with faculty members or experts on the topic,
interviews with prospective research subjects, etc.)
3. Write and submit your thesis topic rationale (together with your thesis topic proposal form).
4. Schedule your thesis topic conference and get your thesis topic accepted and your Thesis Adviser
appointed.
5. Work on your thesis proposal (chapters I to III).
6. Submit and defend your thesis proposal.
7. Choose and propose your Thesis Consultant.
8. Conduct your field work.
9. Analyze your data and write your first draft for review by your Thesis Adviser.
Note: You may have to update or revise some sections of chapters I to III.
10. Submit and defend your thesis draft (chapters I to VI).
Research Writing: A Three-Stage Process
1. The Research topic conference
In the thesis topic conference, you will present your thesis topic rationale to your
Thesis Panel. Your objective in this stage is to get your proposed thesis topic approved
by the panel. If the thesis topic is approved, you will receive a written notice of
approval, including information on who your Thesis Adviser will be.

2. The Research proposal defense


This stage involves the presentation and defense of your thesis proposal (chapters I to
III of your thesis). The defense will be scheduled upon the recommendation of your
Thesis Adviser.

3. The full Research defense


This final stage involves the presentation and defense of your full thesis (chapters I to
VI). The defense will be scheduled upon the recommendation of you Thesis Adviser.
YOUR RESEARCH TOPIC:
CHOICE, PROPOSAL, AND
APPROVAL
General Guidelines
1. The research topic should have a clear relation to your field of specialization. You will have to show
this relation in your thesis topic rationale, in your thesis proposal, and in your full thesis.
2. The inquiry into the research topic should call for more than just desktop or library research. It
should involve field work or the gathering of empirical data on the topic from actual research subjects
and informants. Here are the following reasons:
a. The ability to carry out educational research is a specific competency that all graduates of
Senior High programs are expected to develop. This ability is considered necessary for the
improvement of their teaching practice and also for their long-term scholarly development.
b. Education is not only a practice-intensive field; it is also increasingly becoming a research-
intensive profession. Moreover, there is growing pressure for educational policymaking and teaching
practice to be more “evidence-based.”
3. The research topic should be researchable—i.e., you should be able to turn it into a specific central
research problem and related research questions that can be addressed through a workable research
plan involving field work.
4. The research topic should be specific and narrow enough to allow the completion of the research
plan by one principal researcher (you) working over a period of a few months.
Assessing Prospective Research Topics
Suggestions of Glatthorn and Joyner (2005) for assessing prospective research topics using the
following selection criteria:
1. “Professional significance”
The study makes an important contribution to the field in any of these ways:
a. Tests a theory
b. Contributes to the development of theory
c. Extends existing knowledge
d. Changes prevailing beliefs
e. Suggests relationships between phenomena
f. Extends a research methodology or instrument
g. Provides greater depth of knowledge about previously studied phenomena
• “Significance” does not necessarily mean “originality.” If a study has been previously done
on the same topic or even the same research subjects, put in your own variation: different
methodology, different research instruments, more research subjects, etc.
Assessing Prospective Research Topics (Cont’d)
2. “Continuing professional interest”
This refers the extent to which the topic will continue to be of interest to the profession or field in
general. Avoid studying educational fads (i.e., popular only for a short period). Focus on a topic or
problem not likely to fade soon.
3. “Personal interest”
Choose a topic in which you are keenly interested. [However, it can also happen that in looking
more deeply into a relatively new or unfamiliar topic, you may find it highly interesting.]
4. “Career advancement”
You also need to weigh the impact of your thesis topic on your present and future career. Is it of
immediate value to your current school or employer? If you expect to be promoted or to change
jobs or schools, is the topic professionally timely? If you hope to pursue a scholarly career, will
your study enable you to publish a few articles or even a book?
5. “Professional knowledge, experience, and skills”
It may be more advantageous for you to work on a thesis topic that allows you to draw on your
professional knowledge and experience and/or your research skills.
Assessing Prospective Research Topics (Cont’d)
6. “Likely support”
The more support you have (from your school or your superior at work), the easier
it will be to finish your thesis. It will also help if your Thesis Adviser is highly
knowledgeable about your thesis topic.
7. “Time required”
Make sure that the research topic is sufficiently narrow and focused so that it can
be intensively studied within a reasonable time.
8. “Accessibility”
This refers to issues of access: to prospective research sites, research subjects and
informants (including their willingness to provide the information you will need to
gather).
The Research Topic Rationale
Your research topic rationale is a concisely written paper that states your proposed thesis
topic and presents your reasons, arguments, and considerations for choosing this topic.
Your rationale should include the following:
1. The tentative or working title of the thesis
2. A concise statement of the central research problem to be addressed in the thesis
(including, if applicable, a brief literature-supported description of the phenomenon that you
will look into)
3. The proposed research questions
4. Working operational definitions of key terms in the title, in the central research problem,
and the research questions
5. A brief explanation of why you are interested in and propose to undertake the study
6. Description, explanation, and justification of the following research parameters:
a. The research population or subjects
b. The site(s) or setting(s) (schools, firms, organizations, etc.) in which you will gather data and how
you plan to secure research access to the site(s) or setting(s)
c. The aspects or features of the study showing its relation or linkage to your field of specialization
PROPOSAL
General Guidelines
The thesis proposal consists of three chapters:
• Chapter I (Introduction)
• Chapter II (Review of Related Literature)
• Chapter III (Methodology)
General Guidelines (Cont’d)
• The thesis proposal is meant to provide a threefold grounding to the thesis topic,
the central research problem, the related research questions, and the basic
research parameters of the proposed study. This threefold grounding consists of
the following:
1. Grounding in existing knowledge about the topic (the related literature)
2. Grounding in a real-world phenomenon, problem, or situation
3. Grounding in a specific context (the research setting and research sites)

• Your thesis proposal is also a statement of your specific research purposes and
plan—i.e., what you intend to do to address your central research problem and
answer your research questions. So, you should write most of it (at least the parts
that refer to your research purposes and plan) in the future tense—to convey the
fact that you will still carry out the required field work and gather the data that
you will need to answer your central research problem and research questions.
General Guidelines (Cont’d)
• To minimize changeovers when you prepare your full thesis, it is best that in
drafting your thesis proposal you already follow the recommended format for the
thesis manuscript.

• Make at least three drafts of your thesis proposal:


1st draft: Put your ideas and facts together. (Your concern: substance)
2nd draft: Rewrite or revise for coherent and logical thought flow. (Your concern:
structure)
3rd draft: Edit for clarity and proofread for correctness (consistency with chosen
manual of style, grammar, spelling, etc.). (Your concern: style)
Chapter I
Writing Chapter I (Introduction)
The introductory chapter is meant, among other things, to answer these questions (not necessarily in the stated
order and allowing for some degree of overlap for related questions):
• What is the study all about? (Essence)
• Why is the study needed? (Rationale)
• What are the study’s ultimate purposes or goals?
• What “audience” or “readership” does the study target or appeal to?
• What is significant about the study?
• What contribution will the study make?
• In what way is it different from previous, similar, or related studies? Where does the study “jump in” (in relation to these other
studies)?
• Why should the study matter to the target audience or readership? Why should they care about the results of the study?
• What key issues does the study seek to illuminate or draw attention to?
• What practices does the study seek to influence?
• Why does the researcher want to conduct the study?
• What central or main research problem does the study seek to answer or resolve? Why is it important to answer
or resolve this problem?
• How does the study propose to answer or resolve the central or main research problem? (A brief description of
the research methodology)
• In other words, the introductory chapter “sets up” the whole study and shows both its importance and its “logic
chain.”
Writing Chapter I (Introduction)
Chapter I is also meant to do the following:

• Define and “frame” the central or main research problem, as well as the
related research questions
• Present the research problem in its immediate and broader contexts
• Concisely define and explain the key terms to be used in the study
• Define the scope and delimitations of the study
Writing Chapter I (Introduction)
These then are the main elements of chapter I:
• The Essence of the Study
• The Context of the Study
• The Research Problem
• Purposes of the Study
• Research Questions
• Definition of Key Terms
• Significance of the Study
• Scope and Delimitations of the Study
• Relation of the Study to the Researcher’s Specialization
Writing Chapter I (Introduction)
• A frequent point of confusion in writing chapter I is the distinction
between the “purposes” and the “significance” of the study.

• Most qualitative research studies intend to explore, explain, and/or


describe phenomena, and quantitative research to test hypotheses,
correlate variables, or predict outcomes.
Writing Chapter I (Introduction)
Marshall and Rossman (1999) enumerated four common purposes of qualitative
research and gave examples of each (the four are not mutually exclusive, in the
sense that one can do a study that is both exploratory and descriptive,
explanatory and descriptive, etc.):
• Exploratory
• To investigate little-understood phenomena
• To identify or discover important categories of meaning
• To generate hypotheses for further research
• Explanatory
• To explain the patterns related to the phenomenon in question
• To identify plausible relationships shaping the phenomenon
• Descriptive
• To document and describe the phenomenon of interest
• Emancipatory
* To create opportunities and the will to engage in social action
Writing Chapter I (Introduction)
Marshall and Rossman (1999) also suggested that the significance of a study can be
described by answering these questions:
• What are the potential contributions of the study?
• Who might be interested in the results?
• With what groups might the results be shared?
• In what way is the study significant in relation to (1) theory, (2) policy, (3) practice,
and (4) social issues and action?
Writing Chapter I (Introduction)
A study can thus be significant in any or a combination of the following ways:
• Significance for theory
• Potential contribution to fundamental knowledge: describe or show how the study fits into and
can contribute in new, insightful, or creative ways to the theoretical or research traditions or the
foundational or scholarly literature in the field concerned
• Filling important gaps in the related literature
• Testing or expanding the theory or the generalizations of previous research (by using a different
setting or different research subjects)
• Significance for policy
• Potential contribution or inputs to policy making (new or better or more detailed information,
insights, deeper understanding of phenomenon being studied, etc.)
• Significance for policy at various levels (international, national, regional, local, or institutional)
• Significance for practice
• Potential contribution to the improvement of teaching or administrative or school practice
• Potential contribution to the resolution of practice-related issues
• Significance for social issues and action
• Illumination or better understanding of lived experiences of interest by providing rich description
• Potential contribution to the formulation of action measures to address social issues by showing
what can be done, why, and how
Chapter II
Writing Chapter II (Review of Related
Literature)
• “Related literature” refers to both published and unpublished
materials “related” to your thesis topic. However, “related” is a very
relative term. “Relatedness” can range from very close to tangential.
Imagine your thesis topic at the center of a series of concentric circles
representing sets or categories of published and unpublished
materials with different degrees of “relatedness” or closeness to your
topic. Naturally, in your search for “related literature,” you will give
first priority to materials falling in the inner circles and move on to the
outer circles as you exhaust the possibilities of the inner ones.
Writing Chapter II (Review of Related
Literature)
How to View the Task
You can view the task of writing your Review of Related Literature (RRL) in several
ways. For instance:
• You can think of the task as writing “a narrative essay that integrates, synthesizes,
and critiques the important thinking and research on a particular topic [i.e., your
main research problem]” (Merriam, 1998, p. 55).
• You can look at the task as putting together an account that will “convey to your
reader what knowledge and ideas have been established on [your] topic” by
“accredited scholars and researchers,” and “what their strengths and weaknesses
are” (Taylor, 2007, p. 1).
• You can consider the task as that of making “an accounting of what is out there
on a particular topic” or “of what has been published on a topic” (Lichtman, 2006,
p. 104) to show “the researcher’s understanding between what is presented and
what has preceded it” (p. 105 ).
Writing Chapter II (Review of Related
Literature)
The Importance of a Good RRL
The importance of doing a good RRL cannot be overemphasized.
• Burton, Brundrett, and Jones (2008) said that “conducting a high quality
review of existing ideas is probably the most important element of any
successful research study in the Social Sciences and education in
particular” (p. 29).
• While this may not always be the case, the exceptions—what the three
authors referred to as “blue skies” (p. 29) research (i.e., research on
relatively unexplored topics)—are rare.
Writing Chapter II (Review of Related
Literature)
• According to Lunenburg and Irby (2008), the RRL “can illuminate
every aspect of a research problem” (p. 137) in the following ways:
• providing a historical background for it
• describing its current status
• supporting the purpose of the study
• identifying gaps in the literature
• becoming aware of variables relevant to the problem
• understanding the seminal studies widely cited
• identifying the leading scholars relevant to the problem
• proposing useful theoretical constructs for the study
• understanding the application of appropriate methodological procedures, and
• observing comparative studies that assist in analyzing data and interpreting
the results. (p. 137)
Writing Chapter II (Review of Related
Literature)
Purposes of the RRL
According to Gall, Gall, and Borg (2003), a thorough review of the
literature is useful for any or a combination of the following research
purposes:
• Delimiting your research problem
• Seeking new lines of inquiry.
• Avoiding fruitless approaches.
• Gaining methodological insights
• Identifying recommendations for further research
• Seeking support for grounded theory
Writing Chapter II (Review of Related
Literature)
How to Go about the Task
You can conduct your literature review in three phases:
• Broad scan
Look for previous reviews of literature on your research topic. Your objective: to identify a
research problem.

• Focused review
Your objective: develop and provide documented support for your thesis topic rationale
and thesis proposal.

• Comprehensive critique
Look for all available sources, especially scholarly ones, that have a direct bearing on your
research problem. Your objective: provide a solid and scholarly foundation for your thesis.
Writing Chapter II (Review of Related
Literature)
After having defined your research problem, you can follow these four steps recommended by Gall, Gall, and
Borg (2003) in doing your literature review:
1. Search preliminary sources. These are indexes of publications that are similar in function to the subject index
of a library catalog, in the sense that they can lead you to particular bodies of literature and help you draw up a
working list of books, articles, papers, and other publications related to your topic.
2. Use secondary sources. Preliminary sources can lead you to studies of other researchers who may already
have written reviews of literature relevant to your research problem or topic. These reviews are one example
of secondary sources (documents written by individuals who did not actually do the research, develop the
theories, or express the opinions they have synthesized into a literature review).
3. Read primary sources. It is advisable that you do not rely mainly on preliminary and secondary sources,
because these may not provide you with enough detail on the studies they cite. For such detailed information,
you will have to get access to and read the original studies or reports. These are referred to as primary sources
(documents written by the individuals who actually conducted the studies or who formulated the theories or
opinions described in the documents).
4. Synthesize the literature. Your literature review is supposed to inform the reader about (i) what is already
known and (ii) what is not yet known about your research problem or topic. It is also supposed to show clearly
how your proposed research relates to and builds upon the body of knowledge currently available in the
literature on the problem or topic of interest to you. For these reasons, you will have to synthesize the
information you have gathered from all the documents you have read or consulted into a coherent RRL.
• These four steps need not be done sequentially. You can do them iteratively or you can backtrack as needed
(e.g., to use your insights from the literature review to reformulate your research problem or research
questions or to find more relevant preliminary or secondary sources).
Writing Chapter II (Review of Related
Literature)
Here are some additional tips:
• Make good use of related abstracts. These can help you quickly figure
out the relevance or usefulness of the studies concerned without
having to go through the full text.

• Retrieve the full texts of your most relevant or useful sources (books,
chapters of books, journal articles, etc.). Make sure your copy has full
bibliographic information.

• Whenever possible, look for and use primary sources.


Writing Chapter II (Review of Related
Literature)
Things to Avoid
The RRL should not be and should not read like any of the following:

• A largely descriptive list of source materials or references on your research


topic

• A “he said, she said” enumeration of summaries of published materials


that seem to have some general relation to your research problem

• A set of paragraphs consisting of paraphrased passages combined with


direct quotations from specific authors or works and randomly strung
together (i.e., without any evident effort to organize, relate, analyze,
synthesize, or critique them).
Writing Chapter II (Review of Related
Literature)
Conceptual Framework
• The term “conceptual framework” has two elements:
• “Conceptual” - This refers to the theoretical and conceptual
assumptions or underpinnings or to the concepts or conceptual
context to be given attention in the study.
• In that regard, there is a need for balance between “too little” theory
(no focus or direction) and “too much” of it (which can become a
blinder) in conducting a study and formulating a conceptual
framework.
• “Framework” – As its name implies, this element has the function of
putting boundaries (“inside” and “outside”) and providing points of
attachment (for ideas, relationships, categories, data sets, etc.).
Writing Chapter II (Review of Related
Literature)
Conceptual Framework
Here is a simple definition of CF that you can keep in mind: an ordering and
structuring principle or schema that helps you make sense of data or
information. In that regard, a CF is useful for
• compelling you to be explicit about what you plan to do or think you are
doing, to be selective, and to decide which are the important features or
aspects of the topic and the important relationships (and hence what data
you will collect and analyze);
• sifting through massive literature;
• asking and constructing the appropriate research questions;
• guiding the formulation of the research methodology; and
• analyzing and making sense of data (especially if you have more than you
can use).
Chapter III
Writing Chapter III (Methodology)
• In this section, you describe the “HOW” of your study—i.e., how you
plan to gather and analyze the data and information that you need in
order to answer your research questions and ultimately your central
research problem.
Writing Chapter III (Methodology)
You should describe this plan with enough detail to make the following
points clear to the thesis panel:
1. The kind of study you propose to do (e.g., qualitative-descriptive, case
study, phenomenological or ethnographic study, grounded theory, action
research, quantitative-experimental, or mixed-method study) and why you
have chosen to do this kind of study
2. The kind of data or information you plan to gather
3. The sources of these data or information
4. Description of research settings or sites, research population, research
participants, informants, and selection criteria
5. The data collection methods or procedures (including the
instrumentation) you intend to use
6. If your data collection will include the use of a sample, the sample size to
be taken and the sampling procedure to be followed
Writing Chapter III (Methodology)
7. The matching of the research questions and the research methods or
procedures to be used (to show that all the research questions can be
answered, using the proposed research methods or procedures)
8. The flow or sequence of data gathering and analysis, showing the
specific stages or activities and the corresponding objectives of each
stage or activity
9. How you plan to record data and information (e.g., from interviews,
focus group discussions, or observations)
10. How you plan to analyze the data and information you will gather
11. Questions related to research reliability and validity and how these
will be addressed in the research
12. Aspects or issues related to research ethics and how you plan to
address or handle them
Writing Chapter III (Methodology)
• In general, the section should be written in the future tense—to
reflect the fact that it is describing a research plan that will be carried
out. (In the full thesis, this section will have to be written in the past
tense to indicate that the research has been actually conducted and
completed.)

• If you plan to use standardized tests or instruments (questionnaires,


etc.) in your research, copies of the specific tests or instruments to be
used should be included in the thesis proposal. Describe these
instruments and explain why you have chosen them.
Chapter IV
Writing Chapter IV (Presentation of Data)
• In this chapter, you will present the data and information you have
gathered in your fieldwork—not in their raw form, but after you will
have done the necessary compilation, tabulation, summarization,
analysis, and interpretation. Writing this chapter thus involves
resolving questions that have to do with data reduction, data analysis
and interpretation, and data display. But the basic concern of this
chapter is: What do the field data say?
Writing Chapter IV (Presentation of Data)
Here are other suggestions you can keep in mind:
• Make it a point to construct and present a profile of your research subjects
and informants, using whatever demographic indicators or categories may
be relevant or applicable.

• Whenever possible, do cross-tabulation for deeper data analysis and


interpretation.

• Present your data and information in as clear, concise, and logical a manner
as possible, combining well-selected and well-thought-out tables and
diagrams with descriptive or explanatory texts.
Chapter V
Writing Chapter V (Discussion of Findings)
• Your basic concern in this chapter is: What do the data (as presented
in chapter IV) mean or imply?

• While you will have to figure out, with the help of your Thesis Adviser
(and perhaps your Thesis Consultant as well), how to structure and
organize this chapter, it may be best to discuss your research findings
and their implications with the end in view of giving clear and explicit
answers to your research questions and your central research
problem. It is thus recommended that you reiterate your central
research problem and research questions in this chapter and answer
them accordingly.
Writing Chapter V (Discussion of Findings)
Here are other suggestions to consider:
• Relate your findings from your fieldwork to the insights you have drawn
from your review of related literature (chapter II). It is not necessary that
these two sets of information be consistent with one another. The basic
idea is to use your literature review to shed light on your research findings
and help you make sense of your data and information or the results of
your analysis.
• Help readers fully understand what you have found out, what your findings
mean, and how they relate to other areas of concern.
• Point out the limitations of your findings and of your study as a whole.
Make the reader see that you have duly considered the aspects of validity
and reliability in relation to your methodology and findings.
Chapter VI
Writing Chapter VI (Conclusions and
Recommendations)
• In this chapter, you should present a summary that brings out the
significance of your research findings and conclusions in relation to
any or all of the following viewpoints: theory, policy, practice, and
social action measures.
• You should also redeem the claims and promises that you make in
chapter I regarding the purposes and significance of the study by
highlighting the corresponding aspects or findings of your study and
showing the appropriate connections.
Writing Chapter VI (Conclusions and
Recommendations)
• In presenting your conclusions, avoid making sweeping
generalizations or statements that can give readers the impression
that you consider your findings and conclusions definitive and
incontestable.
• At the end of any empirical study, a researcher cannot and should not
expect or claim to have resolved all the questions that can be raised
about the topic or subject matter of the study.
• Present your conclusions with a sense of contingency and a stance of
openness to what other researchers on the same or related topic may
find out.
Writing Chapter VI (Conclusions and
Recommendations)
• Your recommendations for future research should thus include
suggested improvements in the way you conducted your study, as
well as future research directions related to your thesis topic.
REFERENCES
Burton, N., Brundrett, M., & Jones, M. (2008). Doing your education research project. Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, and
Singapore: SAGE Publications.

Chandrasekhar, R. (2002). How to write a thesis: A working guide. Western Australia: Australian Research Centre for Medical
Engineering , University of Western Australia.
Gall, M. D., Gall, J. P., & Borg, W. R. (2003). Educational research: An introduction (7th ed.). Boston, New York, San Francisco:
Allyn and Bacon.

Glatthorn, A. A., & Joyner, R. L. (2005). Writing the winning thesis or dissertation: A step-by-step guide (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks,
California: Corwin Press.
Hart, C. (1998). Doing a literature review: Releasing the social science research imagination. London, Thousand Oaks, New Delhi:
SAGE Publications.

Lichtman, M. (2006). Qualitative research in education: A user’s guide. Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE Publications.

Lunenberg, F. C., & Irby, B. J. (2008). Writing a successful thesis or dissertation: Tips and strategies for students in the social and
behavioral sciences. Thousand Oaks, California: Corwin Press.

Macfarlane, B. (2009). Researching with integrity: The ethics of academic enquiry. New York and London: Routledge
Marshall, C., & Rossman, G. B. (1999). Designing qualitative research (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE Publications.

Merriam, S. B. (1998). Qualitative research and case study applications in education.


San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.